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Ceremonies around California mark Sept. 11 anniversary

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John Phillips160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For Cathie Ong, it seems like only yesterday that her flight attendant sister Betty perished when Los Angeles-bound American Airlines flight 11 slammed into the World Trade Center’s north tower. “Life has moved on for many people,” Ong said Monday at a Sept. 11 ceremony at San Francisco International Airport, where the doomed United Airlines flight 93 was bound five years ago. For me, it still feels like it happened only yesterday — there is really no such thing as the first, second, or third remembrance because every day is a remembrance for us.” Some 100 pilots, flight attendants and other airline personnel met at the airport Monday to honor the crews who died in the attacks. It was just one of many ways Californians marked the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks with ceremonies across the state, including a so-called Freedom Walk in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Residents also recognized the anniversary with concerts, prayer vigils and film screenings that questioned the Bush administration’s response to events that day. Heather Lauter-Clay, a United Airlines flight attendant who organized the San Francisco airport gathering, said airline industry workers believe their colleagues’ heroism on Sept. 11 and their continued role in making commercial travel possible have been overlooked. “We are all grieving in our own way today,” Lauter-Clay said. “Post 9-11, we are the law enforcement up there — and that is really not recognized.” In San Diego’s Balboa Park, a moment of silence was held at 9 a.m. before some 500 people set out on a remembrance walk, which followed a two-mile circuit through the city’s largest park. It was one of 125 walks planned across the country, including at least one in every state, said Beth Steinke, chapter president for Operation Homefront, the nonprofit sponsoring the walks. “We wanted to give people a place to remember,” Steinke said. Many on the walk had family in the military. For them Sept. 11 is as much about crediting U.S. forces as it is about remembering those killed five years ago. Several service members took part in the walk. “It’s just a day of devastation, but I think the military has done a good job in trying to protect us against the terrorists,” said San Diego nurse Susan Moren, 54. “We are patriotic people, so we wanted to come out and support the troops,” said her husband Tom Moren, 55, a restaurateur. The couple has a son in the U.S. Navy. For San Diego resident Dave Carlson, Sept. 11 makes people aware that the country is vulnerable to another attack. “It could happen at any time, let’s be ready,” Carlson said. “The potential for it to happen is there.” Sisters Danielle Dixon, 29, and Allison Fullerton, 25, have a brother in the U.S. Army. After completing the loop through San Diego’s park, they said they went on the walk to support him. “It’s a sad day but I am 120 percent for our war on terrorism,” Dixon said. “I think they are doing a wonderful job fighting and the terrorists need to know we mean business.” For the military, the anniversary meant business as usual, at least at the Air National Guard station that protects California’s skies. “Our vigilance has not changed at all. Whether or not there’s an anniversary coming up, our vigilance level is always going to be high,” said Maj. Dave Johnston, the chief of intelligence for the 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno. “It’s an important date, but we don’t become increasingly ramped-up just because of a specific date,” he said. “We stay ramped-up all the time.”last_img read more